MOL publishes criteria for foreign blue-collar workers eligible for permanent residency.
With the domestic workforce in severe short supply, the Cabinet on Thursday approved a plan to allow foreign blue-collar workers to register permanent residency as long as certain criteria are met.
During a Cabinet meeting to announce a program to allow skilled foreign workers to obtain permanent residency status, the Labor Department announced that the rule changes would be implemented in the form of an executive order, without amendments, and would take effect in April.
When asked by the media why it is not considering enacting the New Economic Immigration Act (新經濟移民法), the MOL said that the Employment Services Act (就業服務法) and the Employment Services Act (就業服務法) and the Employment Services Act Recruitment and Recruitment of Foreign Talent (外國專業人才延攬及僱用法) has not yet considered amending any laws.
A MOL official stated that the current plan is to loosen permanent resident requirements for “mid-skilled” “intermediate-skilled personnel” who have gained a certain level of experience and are paid. The requirements include “having technological skills, meeting a certain salary, and working for five years after applying.”
There are two main categories that blue-collar workers can apply to: industry and social welfare. Eligible industrial sectors include manufacturing, construction, fishing and agriculture. The social welfare portfolio includes long-term care home caregivers, home caregivers, and those working in other designated national industries.
For minimum wage requirements, foreigners working in this industry must earn more than NT$33,000 per month or their total annual salary must be more than NT$500,000. For the social welfare category, long-term care home caregivers will earn more than NT$29,000 per month, and home caregivers will earn more than NT$24,000 a month.
Low-skilled workers and caregivers must also have a work permit, accumulate at least 80 hours of training, pass a foreign language proficiency test and complete 20 hours of vocational training. However, workers who receive a monthly salary of NT$35,000/month or more are exempt from these additional requirements.
Once blue-collar workers of both types have worked as “intermediate skilled human resources” for five years, they can apply for permanent residency under the Immigration Act (入出國及移民法), but they must earn a total monthly salary of NT$50,000. In addition, they can obtain a Level B professional technician certificate, which can be obtained through government-authorized training programs.
In June last year, the Legislature passed for the third time reading a draft amendment to the Recruitment and Employment Act for Foreign Professionals (外國專業人才延攬及僱用法). Among other incentives, the amendment relaxed regulations to be permanently settled for white-collar “foreign special specialists,” but this does not apply to blue-collar workers.
This year marks the 30th anniversary of Taiwan opening its borders to foreign migrant workers. The number of migrant workers peaked at 719,487 in February 2020 but dropped to 669,992 in December 2021, as the border was closed due to an increase in local COVID cases that summer.
What is a blue-collar foreign worker: Blue-collar employees are the class of workers doing manual or work that needs to be directly used to complete. The name “blue collar” comes from the blue shirt of construction and engineering workers.